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November 1954


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1954;94(5):687-689. doi:10.1001/archinte.1954.00250050001001

NUMEROUS attempts have been made for over half a century to measure the function of the liver by one or another test; these procedures have been proposed for several purposes. First, in cases in which the diagnosis is entirely obscure, it has been hoped that the presence of liver disease might be ruled in or out. Second, in the presence of known liver disease function studies have been used to define, if possible, the degree of damage and the type of lesion. Finally, these procedures seem to have a valuable place in appraising the course of hepatic disturbances— whether downhill or toward recovery. The discovery of the glycogenic activity of the liver, in 1857, by Claude Bernard, stimulated extensive studies of carbohydrate metabolism, and by the late decades of the century alert clinicians were attempting to develop carbohydrate tests for liver function. The general idea was that, if one fed